City workers see a change in benefits - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City workers see a change in benefits

January 2, 2007

Albany -- If you work for the city of Albany, there are about to be some big changes in your benefits. City employees will only be able to accrue 12 sick days each year, instead of 15, and the maximum accrual will now be 720 hours a year, rather than 1,080.

The changes will encourage employees to use sick leave sparingly, costing the city less money. There are also changes on the way for the pension plan.

Public Safety employees will now contribute seven percent to the plan, general employees four percent. The city will maintain its current contribution to general employees and raise it three percent, to create a separate enhanced benefit plan for public safety.

That's a big change, because employees haven't contributed since 1981. Pension Board Chairman Phil Roberson says the changes are necessary to save tax payers money, but city employees are the ones who ultimately decided what to change.    

"I think in the end, as long as employees had a voice, they were willing to give up something, but they were adamant about keeping their pension plan in tact, keep their vacation the way it is and change the sick leave enough, just so that it would not encourage sick leave abuse, but also not lose their sick leave in case they have a catastrophic illness," Roberson says.

New hires for the city of Albany will also see a change in the benefits package. They will not be eligible for a sick leave pay-out once they retire. Current employees will still be eligible, but must serve notice that they will retire at the beginning of each fiscal year in order for departments to budget for the payout.

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